Hughes Loses His Mind

Was this what the Cavs thought they were getting when they committed about $13 million per season to Larry Hughes? If so, it doesn’t explain Larry Hughes’ inability to perform at least half as well as he did last night with consistency. In beating the Orlando Magic last night in Orlando, Hughes caught fire for 40 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He shot 12-19 from the field including 4-5 from three point range. He had Cavaliers color commentator (and resident homer*) Austin Carr using a falsetto on the television broadcast to draw his last name out for more than 5 seconds, kind of like “Heeeeyoooooooooooooooze!”

And Hughes’ performance was needed for the Cavs to beat the Orlando Magic 118 to 111. LeBron made his presence felt again in the fourth quarter by scoring eight straight points for the Cavs when they needed to at least trade baskets with Orlando. But the game isn’t really the story. The way it looked to the people who watch the Cavs night in and night out is the story.

This game looked totally different than most. Because Larry Hughes brought that level of unconscious scoring, LeBron was able to drive to the hole. Instead of having constant double teams, or in some cases having an entire team’s five defenders cheating toward LeBron’s side of the court, they had to play him with only single and double coverage. This enabled LeBron to use his best attribute, speed, around the corner and explode to the basket. It enabled those eight straight points in the fourth and very well could be the overall reason that the Cavs were able to beat the Magic last night.

Even more amazing is that this was the second night of a back to back - an away game after a home game no less. Don’t get me wrong here. It isn’t time to start printing tickets to the finals or anything. Hell, it isn’t even time to start those Larry Hughes trade rumors. It was just one night. Knowing the Cavs’ (and Larry Hughes’) luck so far, it probably won’t ever happen again. But still, it is nice to dream Cavs fans, isn’t it? Dream of a two headed, or even one and a half headed monster?